Journalism: it's all in the words


Chad Bryan, Youthlink Writer

Shelley Crutz says journalism is storytelling with a purpose. In other words, it provides people with purposeful information which they need to understand. The first challenge it presents is that of finding the information that people need in order to live their lives, and the second is delivering this information in a meaningful, relevant and/or engaging way.

Different categories of media facilitate offshoot careers in journalism; print journalism may lead to jobs as reporters, editors, associate editors, subeditors and proofreaders, whereas electronic journalism may lead into jobs as researchers, floor managers, reporters and sound technicians, among other things.

Job description

Crystal Harrison has worked as a news reporter little over two years. She notes that her job entails collecting information about newsworthy events then writing about them for publication. "Normally, I cover court, but generally any other story that is newsworthy," she explains.

Misconceptions regarding my job

Writing for a newspaper doesn't automatically mean that a reporter/writer is capable of writing for all the different sections of the paper, as Harrison explains. "Because of the niche I have been placed in, people think I can cover other stories, which is not normally the case. In some instances, an entertainer may attend court or may be involved in something that may lead my story to become entertainment related."

Most challenging part of my job

All jobs have their share of challenges and a career in journalism is no different. "Getting people to comment on issues or to put their spin on a newsworthy story is sometimes difficult. Even getting the police to comment can prove challenging, as they are not very media-friendly at times. Sometimes they direct us elsewhere and the third party may not necessarily have much knowledge of events surrounding an incident, and that could impede a story," she declares.

Best part of my job

Every challenge can have its reward, and for Harrison it is the times she's shared with co-workers and the experience she has gained from working with a reputable media house. "The camaraderie with my immediate colleagues and the invaluable experience [I get] working with an established media house is, I think, the best part of my job," Harrison exclaims.

Prerequisite training, qualifications and skill

Anyone who is leaning towards a career in journalism would be required to have at least a diploma in mass communication or some form of media training from a reputable tertiary. He or she should also have a keen eye for detail. Subjects recommended for a career in journalism include: English literature, English language, social studies, history, a foreign language, mathematics, among others.